Follow my journey as a Students Live reporter through the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games and beyond!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The Paralympic Games are not near as anticipated or as widely broadcasted as the Olympic Games. I know this is bad, but to tell you the truth, before I got this opportunity with Students Live I hardly knew anything about the Paralympic Games. So I'm going to share with you some of the basic must-knows:
The Paralympic Games run from March 12th to March 21st, this is a little shorter than the 17 days of Olympic Games. The Paralympic Games have their own opening and closing ceremonies, they have their own logo, mascot and torch relay. Most of these things are a lot smaller for the Paralympic Games; for instance section A tickets to the Olympic Opening Ceremonies cost $1100, and section A tickets to the Paralympic Opening Ceremonies are $175. That is quite the difference. The Paralympic Games have been around since 1960, compared to the Olympic Games which have been running since 1896. There are 15 events in the Olympic Games and in the Paralympic Games there are 5. Those events are wheelchair curling, sledge hockey, biathlon, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. For the alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-country skiing there are 2 categories; standing and sitting. Sitting is for athletes who are missing a leg or foot for example, and the standing category is for athletes who can stand normally, but might be visually impaired.
The Paralympic torch relay is a 10 day journey with about 600 torchbearers, compared to the Olympic torch relay that is a 106 day journey and has about 12,000 torchbearers. The total number of Olympic athletes and officials is around 5,500 while the total number of Paralympic athletes and officials is 1,350. The number of countries participating in Olympic Winter Games is over 80, and the number of countries participating in Paralympic Winter Games is half of that. There are 1.6 million tickets available for the Olympic Winter Games, divide that by 6 for the number of tickets available for the 2010 Paralympic Games. So as you can tell, most of these Paralympic events are not quite as big and extravagant as the Olympic ones.
I think the Olympic athletes are so inspiring with all their talent, effort and determination, they have so much drive to do well and never give up, and for that I look up to them. It is unreal the heart and passion they have for their sport. But then you have to think about these Paralympic athletes, some of them are born disabled, and some are in tragic accidents, but instead of grieving their whole lives, they make the best of what they have. They create goal, and strive for it with everything they have. The Paralympic athletes have so many more obstacles to overcome. Missing a leg, or not being able to see and still being able to ski down a mountain is just amazing!